"Ode to the Onion" by Pablo Neruda + Onion Galette with Blue Cheese & Honey

"Under the earth the miracle happened."

Consider the onion. You probably have a bowl of them in your pantry, or one or two tucked next to the glossy tomatoes or near the garlic. They wait where we leave them, to be peeled and minced, to give a backbone to our next recipe. All this without the fanfare or praise or notoriety we give to others, sometimes purely on the basis of aesthetics. Figs, melted chocolate, well-styled cheese platters and fizzy cocktails come to mind. The onion, by comparison, is plain and ordinary.

"Da Capo" by Jane Hirshfield + Lentil Stew with Chestnuts

You’ve heard the advice before: Write it down on a slip of paper and burn it, or wrap it with twine and thrust it into the ocean tied to a rock. Whatever it is, a vice, a relationship, a past, the physical act of releasing it to the universe is supposed to encourage an emotional release, too.

I’m here with Jane Hirshfield again, making lentils. This time, the speaker of this poem finds a subject who is broken and encourages her to “take the used-up heart like a pebble/ and throw it far out.” What comes next is a specific instruction to go home and make soup. The speaker provides details, tells us which order to prepare the ingredients. To do it, because, if one is in the position of just returning from throwing out their old heart, it might be impossible to put one foot in front of the other. So the list is one of grace, care and meant to aid the renewal process. Also, when you return from throwing out your heart, you may be hungry but not realize it, and need a little reminder to engage in the very basic act of feeding yourself.